Sometimes insulation and air sealing just aren’t enough to prevent temperature fluctuations in your home. Maybe you have an older house, or an addition that just isn’t as well ventilated. Whatever the reason, cold spots in your home can make things mighty uncomfortable when the weather turns wintry.
When this happens, homeowners usually just pop into their local home goods store and buy a space heater without much regard to the financial implications. Unfortunately, traditional space heaters don’t hold the best reputation for energy efficiency, and that can drive up your energy bills. If you’re trying to heat more than a small part of your home, a conventional space heater is not the way to go. In fact, a typical central heating system uses about 43% percent of the energy required to heat a home with space heaters, according to the Department of Energy.
Meanwhile, electricity just isn’t a terribly efficient fuel source for heating. If your electricity is coming from a coal-fired power plant (which, chances are likely, it is), then the carbon footprint of your electrical heat may be fairly large. That’s because it takes more coal to achieve the energy output of heating oil or natural gas.
Of course, more energy efficient options do exist. Convection heaters, designed for whole-room heating, offer much better performance than radiant space heaters. In particular, ceramic convection heaters, like the Eco Heater, are able to achieve much higher efficiency numbers than other heating methods. Let’s take a look at Eco Heaters, how they work, what makes them so efficient, and what you can do to make your home as warm and welcoming as possible.
What Makes Ceramic Convection Heaters Different?
A radiant heater is a bit like an electric stove, with warmth radiating out from a heated surface. Convection heaters, on the other hand, use an internal fan to blow heated air out into a room—that’s where the convection part of the name comes from. Heat travels on air currents, so this helps warm the room faster and more thoroughly.
In a ceramic convection heater, that initial heat source comes from electrical heat distributed across a ceramic disc. Since the plates can be buried deeper in the body of the heater, they’re typically somewhat safer than radiant heaters. And that’s a good thing, since according to the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters contributed to 79 percent of deadly residential fires.
What Makes the Eco Heater Different?
Mainly, it’s a difference of design. Most manufacturers rate conventional space heaters at about 1500 watts. The Eco Heater, on other hand, runs on around 400 watts, less than a third of that energy.
And since you mount the Eco Heater directly on the wall, it achieves better heat flow, too. From that position, the fan blows heat up toward the top of the room, and down, toward floor level, as well—kind of like having your car heater on full blast. In fact, if you want to save a lot money on your heating bills, you could potentially use an efficient heater like this instead of your central heating at night—especially if you only have one or two bedrooms to heat in your home.
Additionally, the unit’s slim profile is one of its other selling points. It frees up space in a bedroom or other area with limited room. And you can paint it to match the color of the walls—making it a covetable choice for those concerned with their appliance’s design.
What Else Can I Do to Protect My Home from Cold Spots?
As a temporary fix, a space heater makes sense. But if your home is losing heat from poor insulation, bad air sealing, leaking ducts, or inefficient central heating, fixing these problems will save you a lot more money (and energy!) in the long run.
In particular, many homes experience cold spots and unevenly heated interiors because the heating unit is too small for the square footage of the house. This frequently happens after homeowners add an addition or indoor porch to their home. If you’ve recently remodeled, and you’ve noticed a sudden steep increase in your energy bills, you may be better off biting the bullet and purchasing a new HVAC system. That’s especially true if your heating unit is nearing the ten-year mark—a newer, more efficient system in the proper size could make all the difference. Check out our HVAC cost calculator to get a sense of the right unit for your home’s area.
Additionally, you may consider having a professional energy audit performed on your home, as well. A pro can look at your home’s insulation, ducts, windows, attics, and other areas to see where you might be losing energy—and feeling the heat on your utility bills.
And if you really want an energy-efficient way to heat up, don’t forget to heed your mother’s advice: put on a sweater!